The Way of the Bird
When we take notice of the lives of birds, we can receive messages that are useful to our own lives. Much like the wall hangings and t-shirts with “Everything I need to know I learned from a tree,” birds can also lead us to everything we need to know.
But the truth is, breaking out of one state is the only way we, humans and animals, can grow into the next stage of life. An egg has to hatch to become a bird.
A baby must grow into an adult.
And even once we reach adulthood, we continue to grow and change into new life stages. Once we’re full grown these changes tend to be internal. It’s not as obvious as being hatched or growing in your body.
But we all continue to change, and instead of mourning these changes we’d be better off taking a page from the bird’s book, and celebrate moving one from stage of life to the next as a wonderful gift of life. Not something to be sad about.
The “loss” of one thing opens the door to new growth. The lost feather allows room for new, stronger feathers to come in and keep the bird flying high and free.
It’s like this: Every time you say “no” to a request or opportunity, you make space for another opportunity that you can say “yes” to. If someone asks you to do something and you’re already overloaded, saying “No” leaves space for the possibility of self-care and renewal.
But when you always say “yes” to every request and opportunity, you’re saying “no” to other opportunities that may be better for your personal health and wellness.
Birds don’t hold on to their feathers, trying hard to stay in the same place all the time. They shed those old, weak feathers, grow new ones and move one.
Consider doing the same.
A bird in a nest reminds us that home is important. And that it’s worth fighting for. If you’ve ever wandered too close to a swallow’s nest and had to run away ducking as they dive bomb you, you know what I’m talking about.
Create a home space where you and your family feel safe. It doesn’t have to be the biggest, fanciest nest in the woods. It just needs to feel welcoming and warm.
Having a safe home space helps your peace of mind. For you and your family.
Biologists can’t really explain zugunruhe. And you can’t necessarily explain your own intuition.
Can you declare with absolute certainty how you “knew” something was going to happen before it did? Or that it was absolutely the right time to quit one job for another one?
No. It’s “just a feeling.”
Learn to trust that feeling. Pay attention to the messages your own inner zugunruhe is telling you. What do you think would happen if birds hesitated when their intuition struck?
It’s hard to say. But chances are, we’ll never know because birds don’t ignore their zugunruhe. They follow their intuition. And this is what sustains the patterns of migration and, to some extent, what keeps the cycles of nature on track.
As you walk in the woods and take in nature, notice the birds. Take time to see how the natural world hums along without much drama or struggle. You might see how you can do the same.